For me, late POTJ marked the beginning of the "dark times", as I refer to them, in collecting.
Some of the bull**** that rolled out from then onward to 2003/2004-ish was just attrocious. I didn't buy one damn figure in 2002 during MM. I looked around, and it was my worst nightmare. Almost every figure was a little PVC statue, and some of them were so absurd that absolutely nothing would stand them up... even stands tipped due to the weight and odd pose of the figures.
I've grown to appreciate some of what was done then, only because it has a superior figure that was made more recently. However, those figures are still pretty attrocious. It really kicked off with Eeth Koth at the tail end of POTJ... Then the preview wave... Then 2002's Saga kick-off. Gradually they started to do some stuff better, like Capt. Antilles and Gen. Dodonna, but really it took an entire film's release of figures for them to realize they were going down the completely wrong path? That's disappointing.
Things didn't pick up in quality overall till 2005 really. There were some good figures between 2003 and 2005, but 2005 was the first time that the line really was showing a big jump in quality I thought, with the ROTS Preview Wave. 2004 had some pretty big jumps, but 2005 was like a jump for the entire line, not just a figure here or there that seemed like a fan-wank.
2002 stuff though... I still to this day don't own that Jar Jar. I even WANT that Jar Jar resculpt. I won't buy that 2002 figure though. It's disgusting.
It's funny how Zam's figure makes me forget about the Padme and Anakin in the wave... I've wanted the Outlander Disguise figures for eons, and now they're here, and I have a hard time remembering that because Zam looks so disgustingly outstanding that I'm fixated on getting Jango's sidekick.
That's great stuff.
It's good news from you Jayson, that Luke isn't too bad. That's helping push a sale of him on me... I heard the face getting some ****** reviews. Hell, I may even buy a 2nd one so I can replace the 30AC Medal Ceremony Luke? That figure's skin tone is more annoying to me, than his likeness though. I'm usually a little forgiving there. Human likenesses are just hard to get right I figure.